• Edi Hila. Painter of Transformation
    2 March − 6 May 2018

    The Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw Edi Hila. Painter of Transformation 02/03 –  06/05/2018 Curators: Kathrin Rhomberg, Erzen Shkololli, Joanna Mytkowska Loans by Kontakt: Edi Hila: 5 paintings of the series "A tent on the roof of a car" (K712-K716) 18 drawings of the series "The Poultry" (K694-K711) Edi Hila was born in Shkodër in 1944 and works in Tirana. He is affiliated with the Tirana Academy of Fine Arts, where he is an influential teacher. Educated in Shkodër, a city with its beginnings in the ancient world, Hila has always had access to the roots of classical culture. During his studies in the 1960s he experimented timidly with deformation. In 1972 he painted The Planting of Trees, a pleasant picture rendered slightly unreal through the use of colours. Because it departed from the social realist doctrine in force at the time, the painting was used as the pretext for sentencing him to a re-education camp. For several years, forced to live in the countryside and work on a chicken farm, he was practically cut off from the ability to practise painting. He produced numerous drawings at that time, first and foremost the series Poultry (1975–1976), documenting rural life, harrowing in the raw realism of its presentation, with existential undertones. In the 1990s, seeking his own path back to painting, Hila carefully observed life evolving after the fall of the Hoxha regime and tried to depict the realities of social transformation. In the groundbreaking series Comfort (1997), the artist captures the inability to satisfy the need for comfort promised to the new society. He primarily creates series treating a selected theme over several paintings. The most important of Hila’s series include Paradox (2000–2005), Relations (2002–2014), Threat (2003–2009), Roadside Objects (2007–2010), Penthouses (2013), Boulevards (2015) and A Tent on the Roof of the Car (2017). The realism of his painting is distinct, based on careful observation of detail, which he exploits to convey the psychological truth of the observed phenomenon. Hila carefully selects the themes for his painting series. They possess the strength of authenticity of everyday observation as well as the universality of the existential principle. In his version, this strips the transformation in Eastern Europe of accident or adventure typical of many presentations, and gives it the weight of distilled general truths, as if he were its final chronicler. One of the reasons for such radical reduction may be Hila’s leaning toward classicism, a fascination with Renaissance sources of painting. It is as if modernism has evaporated from his field of interest and there are no dilemmas of modernity. This is why the transformation, in collision with the classical tradition of painting and balance understood in the distant spirit of the Renaissance, conveys so clearly the disruption and attack on harmony and order. On the other hand, it is rooted in human dilemmas that are hard to conceal, even with a veneer of modernization. Edi Hila’s exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw fits within a series of exhibitions devoted to overlooked artists from Eastern Europe. Over the past few years we have prepared monographic exhibitions of Ion Grigorescu, Július Koller and Mária Bartuszová, and carried out projects with Sanja Iveković and Tomislav Gotovac. But this project extends beyond scholarly curiosity or historical necessity. The reason we are addressing Hila’s oeuvre at this time is the acute currency of an artist who refused to be deceived by the trappings of the transformation, always tracing the subcutaneous threats it carried with it.


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Mladen Stilinović

The artistic practice of Mladen Stilinović, one of the founders and the liveliest protagonists of conceptual art in Croatia and the region, may be presented by using the key words, i.e. words that introduce the core problem and the procedures that the artist used: language, ideology, manipulation, appropriation, correction, irony, installation, decontextualisation, exploitation, repetition, tautology...

Whereas all the existing words in Stilinović's well-known “Dictionary – Pain“ (2000-2003) have been crossed out white and changed into one and the same word of unique meaning – pain – in a potential “imperatival dictionary” some words could easily change places and the structure without the change of meaning.

The open structure and the apparent incompleteness have been constants of the artist’s work since the very beginning. In the late 1960s, Stilinović appeared in the medium of experimental film, and in the early 1970s he stabilized in the area of visual arts. He experimented with two ideologies and aesthetics, the West and the East, Marcel Duchamp and Kazimir Malevich, as their characteristic poles, his opus balancing between deadly seriousness and ironic ridicule, conscious mystification and ruthless exploitation of dead aesthetics and ideologies.

Even when completed cycles are concerned, such as the commonly quoted cycle “Exploitation of the Dead” (1984-1989), there always seems to remain the sense of immediacy, temporality, the possibility of rearranging and upgrading.

Fragmentation, crushedness, fragmented visions are among the basic features of Stilinović’s work that perfectly represent his installation rooms, such as "Red-pink."


1947, Beograd / RS, at that time Jugoslavija – 2016, Pula / HR

Stilinović was, together with his brother Sven Stilinović, Fedor Vučemilović, Boris Demur, Vlado Martek, and Željko Jerman, a member of the “Group of Six Authors” in Zagreb (Croatia) from 1975 to 1979. His works include collages, photographs, artist's books, paintings, installations, actions, films and video.

Solo Exhibitions (selected):

2015     “Mladen Stilinović”, MUAC, Mexico City, Mexico

2014     “Mladen Stilinović”, Galerie Frank Elbaz, Paris, France

2012     “Nula iz vladanja / Zero for Conduct," Muzej suvremene umjetnosti, Zagreb, Croatia

2011     “Sing! Mladen Stilinović Retrospective”, Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary

2010     “Mladen Stilinović”, VOX contemporary image, Montreal, Canada

2009     “Mladen Stilinović. Artist’s Books. Index”, The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, Stockholm, Sweden

2008     “Mladen Stilinovic”, Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck, Austria

2007     “Subtracting of Zeroes / Mladen Stilinović “, Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul, Turkey

2005     “Artist At Work”, Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Group Exhibitions (selected):+

2017     “Viva Arte Viva”, 57th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy

2012     “Doppio Gioco. Double Game The Ambiguity of the Photographic Image”, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice, Italy

2011     “Scenes from Zagreb: Artists”, Museum of Modern Art, New York City, USA

2010     “Les Promesses du passé”, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

2009     “The Making of Art”, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt/Main, Germany

2008     “ARTEAST 2000”, Umetnostna Gallery, Maribor, Slovenia

2007     “History Started Playing with my Life”, The Israeli Center for Digital Art, Holon, Israel

2006     “Kontakt ... aus der Sammlung der Erste Bank-Gruppe“, MUMOK Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Austria

2005     “Arbeit*“, Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck, Austria

2004     “De ma Fenêtre, des artistes et leur territoire“, École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, Paris, France

2003     “Blut & Honig. Zukunft ist am Balkan“, Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg, Austria

2002     “In search of Balkania“, Neue Galerie Graz, Graz, Austria

This bibliography provides a list of books available in the
ERSTE Foundation Library

Books/Exhibition Catalogues


Gregory, Jarrett, Valdez, Sarah, eds. 2011. Ostalgia. New York: New Museum.


Stipančić, Branka, ed. 2011. SING!  Budapest: Ludwig Museum.


Sudac, Marinko, ed. 2011. Podrucǰe zastoja = Standstill: kolekcija Marinko Sudac = Marinko Sudac collection. Zagreb: Avangarde Research Institute.


Grammel, Słoren, Laanemets, Mari, eds. 2008. Mladen Stilinović: On Money and Zeros. Berlin: Revolver Publishing.


Stilinović, Mladen, artist. 2007. Vrijedanje anarhije. Maribor: Kulturno izobraževalno društvo Kibla.


Stipančić, Branka, Milovac, Tihomir, eds. 2007. Exploitation of the Dead. Mladen Stilinović. Zagreb: Museum of Contemporary Art.


Stipančić, Branka, ed. 2007. Artist's Books 1972-2006. Mladen Stilinović. Istanbul: Platform Garanti, Contemporary Art Center.


Eiblmayr, Silvia, ed. 2005. Arbeit*. Frankfurt: Revolver. Archiv für aktuelle Kunst.


Gregorič, Alenka, Stipančić, Branka, eds. 2005. Artist at work 1973-1983 = Umetnik na delu 1973-1983. Mladen Stilinović. Ljubljana: Galerie Škuc.


Boutin, Nathalie. 2004. De ma fenêtre: des artistes et leurs territoires. Paris: École nationale supériere des beaux-arts.


Frisinghelli, Christine, Križić Roban, Sandra, eds. 2004. Ostati ili otići = Bleiben oder gehen = Staying or leaving. Zagreb: Croatian Photographic Union.


Milovac, Tihomir, Stipančić, Branka, eds. 2003. Pain. Mladen Stilinović. Texts by Igor Zabel et al. Zagreb: Museum of Contemporary Art.


Stilinović, Mladen. 2003. Texts. Zagreb.


Beroš, Nada, Milovac, Tihomir Milovac. 2001. The cynicism of the poor = Cinizam siromašnih. Mladen Stilinović. Zagreb: Museum of Contemporary Art [Exhib. Cat., Museum of Modern Art Zagreb (Dec. 13, 2001-Jan. 20, 2002)]


Nikitović, Spomenka. 1998. Mladen Stilinović. Documentation by Darko Šimičić. Zagreb: SCCA, Soros Center for Contemporary Arts.

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  • Photo: Adam Savoky
  • Photo: Adam Savoky
  • Photo: Adam Savoky

  • Photo: Adam Savoky